Things to know before buying a new pet

Are you looking to add a furry friend to your family this year? You're likely not alone - Australia is a nation of animal lovers, so it's no surprise that many people are proud pet owners.

But, before you go ahead and bring your bundle of furry joy home, there are a few important points to consider. Being a pet owner carries a lot of responsibility and it's up to you how well you rise to the task.

Being well informed and up to date with the rules around pet ownership in Australia is a good start, and it always helps to do your research before committing to creating a home for that new dog or cat.

Where can you get your pet from?

So you’ve decided to take on the responsibility of a new pet, now you need to decide where you’ll get your new pet from.

If you're looking for a pure breed or pedigree dog or cat, your best bet is to look at registered breeders. Pet shop is another option, but there are some concerns around buying pets from a pet shop due to the way that they are housed and also where they are sourced.

Otherwise, animal shelters such as the RSPCA are always looking for good homes for their pets, and online sellers on pet websites may also be a place to start. However, if you are looking online it's important to be vigilant about scams.

The Western Australian Department of Commerce recommends visiting the animal in its home environment if possible, so you can verify that it's in good condition and has been well cared for by the seller.1

Before buying, they also recommend making sure all the appropriate steps have been covered in regards to health, desexing and vaccinations. The seller should be able to provide proof of this, so you can rest assured your new pet has been looked after properly.

Once you've made all the necessary preparations, you can look forward to bringing your new pet home to the family.

Preparing for your new pet

Cats and dogs can bring so much joy into a home, and doing some preparation will help ensure your pet’s transition into your life is smooth and easy.

For example, you will need to meet several on-going costs such as food and veterinarian bills. Ensuring your pet visits the vet when they suffer an injury or an illness is vital when looking after the health of your furry friend, but these expenses can be an unexpected burden.

Taking out pet insurance is one way you can prepare for this cost, helping you provide for your pet in the event of an illness, injury or even just routine medical treatments.

There are a variety of choices when it comes to pet insurance in Australia, so you can tailor your level of cover from a basic accident-only policy to the inclusion of extras such as emergency boarding. It's up to you whether you choose just a basic policy or a more comprehensive policy, so you may want to compare pet insurance policies to find the product that's right for your cat or dog.

Aside from the financial side of things, it's also important to consider all the key essentials you’ll need when welcoming a new pet to the family such as their food, collar, ID and bedding.

With the right planning and preparation, you can ensure your new pet will be coming into a loving home.
This is general information and does not take into account your financial situation.

  1. A consumer's guide to buying a pet | PDF

These articles are provided as reference material to allow more informed decision making, but are not intended as being a complete source of information on any topic. All readers should make their own independent analysis on the topic to make sure they have considered the aspects that are important to them.